Keep the kids entertained with one of these classic cottage activities

Playing with an innertube

This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

We love technology. (A smartphone is just straight-up better than a box of crayons on a long car ride.) But the lake is the place for classics, like these time-tested toys and activities.

Use pool noodles

An enthusiastic fist bump to whoever invented this multi-purpose floating wonder. What else can kids—and, c’mon now, adults—use for hours of water-logged hilarity? Plus, noodle. Heh.

Eat hot dogs

Kid friendly? Kid intended. Cookable over a campfire, hand-held, and completely appropriate drowned in ketchup. Don’t get too bothered about what, exactly, is in them. (But it’s mainly small cuts of meat, plus spices, water, and some curing agents. No lips. No eyeballs.)

Skip stones

Whether or not you achieve multiple bounces, or even one, doesn’t really matter. The fun is in searching for and finding those perfectly smooth, beautiful, flat disks—and then chucking them into the lake!

Read, you know, books

Remember books? Or Archie comics? Or any words printed on paper?

Toast marshmallows 

You’ll need a good stick. Keep the business end away from your hair and wash it every so often. (Ants.)

Grab the inner tube 

Disregarding the potential for pain—smokin’ hot black rubber vs. leg flesh—the inner tube was a classic water toy for every cottager, and it’s still awesome. (But seriously: don’t leave these things out in the sun.)

Embrace water shoes

Some footwear—um, the wedge running shoe?—is weird. But anything that goes from rocky shoreline to slimy lake bottom to snacks on the dock is always a yes.

A pail and a shovel!

Enough said.